Protocol Nr. 1523
The persons in question have given us the following information Our father was a lumberman; we lived in our own house in very good financial conditions. After the four weeks we spent in the ghetto of Munkács we were set forth with the second transport. 82 people were put in a cattle car. An old man died on the way but nobody attempted to escape in our cattle car. They gave us some water when we started, but the water supply was only retrieved at Kassa, where the Germans took over. They told us that we were being taken to work, but we already saw what was in store for us. I, the above named Lilly Mendelsohn, looked out of the window in Slovakia, and they shot in immediately, but luckily the bullet did not hit me. The money we still had we tore apart and threw it out of the window. Since our cattle car was right next to that of the Germans escorting us, we were always in view. They picked the men from us and locked them up in a separate cattle car, where they beat them up. Among those beaten men there were Samu Guttmann, János Guttmann, Sándor Guttmann and others, who asked the Germans escorting us what they suggested them to do: when we arrive, should they say that they are ill or not? The Germans told them to register as ill people, which they did and later we heard that all of them had been taken to the gas. We arrived in Auschwitz at the end of a two-day journey at about 12 o’clock at night. When we arrived, we saw the chimneys in flames and we heard screams. It was a horrible feeling: we thought we were being taken directly into the fire. I had some morphine with me for all emergencies and I took it still on the way. When we were in the bath, a prisoner who was a physician saw that and helped me. In the bath they cut our hair and gave us clothes different from our own. They locked us up in a camp, which was a Gypsy camp. 1,500 of us stayed in a block and we had nowhere to lie down, we slept on the concrete floor. We got blankets only on the following day; every three people were given one blanket. We spent three weeks there. In the first three days we did not get any food at all. Later we were given a little coffee, a portion of bread and a packet of margarine, while the lunch they gave us consisted of a pot of soup made of some grass with sand and bromide. 12 people received a pot, which meant two decilitres for one person. There was a reveille a 3 o’clock at dawn. If somebody could not get ready and go out to the Appellplatz quickly enough she was beaten by the overseer women. We were often standing there for long hours until finally the number of people was found to be correct. We had to kneel as a punishment many times. After three weeks, we were sent to Camp C, where 1,200 people lived in a block and 12 slept on a bunk. We worked in the Aussenkommando next to the crematorium; we sawed and split wood and transported it to the oven. Once we heard that a transport from Lodz had arrived; they were lined up in fifties, women and children; moreover they had their baggage with them. A seven-year-old boy asked me where they were going to be taken and I answered, to the bath. The poor boy replied with resignation that he knew what sort of bath they were being taken to. Following that, they were driven to the so-called bathhouse, which was a cellar. Once, when we were not so much before the Germans’ eyes I looked in there and I saw that there were coat hangers all around equipped with numbers. I also saw showers through which the gas was let out. I heard from the people working there that when the people in question went in they were given a piece of soap and a towel. We often heard screaming and crying for minutes, which slowly became lower and lower, then stopped completely. We also heard that some people, whose hearts were very strong did not die immediately, but they were still breathing when they were thrown into the oven. The latter information we heard from our uncle, who worked in the crematorium. He was the one who told us that he had burnt our parents too, but six months later he was burnt himself, as it usually happened to those working there. The Germans did not need witnesses. Once we received a letter from our uncle, in which he told us that one night Mózes Weinberger, the owner of a public bath, who was also assigned to work in the crematorium and who was a very religious man, was reluctant to do the work and he asked rather to be shot dead, only not to be forced to do that work. In spite of his request he was not shot dead, but he was thrown into the oven alive; they even heard his voice from inside. I, the above named Lilly Mendelsohn, was selected thirty-three times; it happened that ten selections were made a day. On one occasion, my sister Sári was put among the weak people and she was taken to block No. 7 with the other selected ones. A block curfew was held at 12 o’clock at night and I stole the female block leader’s armband, I put it on and went out like that. I sneaked to the guard and I offered her my gold watch, which I had managed to save. She threatened me, but I kept talking to her until I finally managed to bribe her. She went to the block and brought my sister out. The poor little girl jumped on my neck and she fainted from excitement. I could hardly manage to make her regain her consciousness in two hours. From Auschwitz we were taken with a transport to Pürsko. 2,000 of us were travelling by passenger train for two days; we received a portion of bread and two portions of margarine for the journey. A bomb hit our train on the way, but to our luck nobody died among us. When we arrived in Pürsko they accommodated us in a stable at a farmstead. We spent a month there; our task was to dig trenches. Our provisions were quite good. After a bomb attack one evening we were taken away from there too; we marched for a month while we spent the nights in villages. The 2,000 people were crammed into a stable and the door was nailed shut. There was so little room that we were practically lying on each other and often we did not have even that; if we did not find a suitable stable we slept out in the open air in the snow in wintertime. A number of people died of frost there, so only 1,400 of us arrived in Grünberg. We got 5-6 potatoes a day: that was all our daily food supply. During the one-month-long way we only saw bread twice. Many tragedies happened during that march, one of them I can recall: a woman called Mrs. Halpuder from Munkács, who was with us together with her daughter, was taken to the forest one night. The girl ran after them because she felt bad about it. We saw it from a distance, from the side of the forest where we were cooking at the oven that they had dug a hole and they placed a plank above it. The Wehrmacht sergeant ordered the woman to stand on the plank and when she did the sergeant shot the woman down. The girl saw her mother’s death and she asked the sergeant to shoot her dead too; the sergeant did not make her ask him for long, so they died together. At last we arrived in Grünberg, where we stayed for a week. Our provisions were satisfactory and we did not work there. We set off to Guben together with a transport, which had been ready to go. The march was one week long; we slept in stables during that march again. Again we got 5-6 pieces of potatoes, but luckily there was a nice clean thick snow, so we could eat snow, as there was no water anyway. Many people tried to escape on the way; unfortunately a number of them got caught and they were shot down without mercy. We stayed in Guben for a week. We had already been completely weak; we got so little to eat that we were only lying all day long from weakness and hunger. We had hardly been able to walk. Meanwhile the Russians were approaching; attacks followed each other and so we were soon taken to Gross Rosen. Although we spent only two days there: they disinfected us and took us along to Bergen-Belsen. We can only remember the camp of Bergen-Belsen with horror. After our arrival 134 of us were driven into one small room; we were sitting on the floor, it was impossible to lie down. In the beginning our provisions were quite good, then, about 3 weeks before the liberation we did not even see any bread except a quarter of a loaf on one occasion, but even that was said to be poisoned. Everybody got typhus. We fell ill too, and we had fevers as high as 40 degrees, but we were selected to carry corpses still when we were ill. That was horrible work, but soon we managed to get in the peeling kitchen. 25 of us were there when we heard through the loudspeaker on 15th April that the English troops had arrived in Bergen-Belsen. An Oberscharführer entered the kitchen and he cracked the girls’ heads with a screwdriver in his wrath, and having them stunned in that way he threw them into a barrel. There was a relative of ours called Rózsi among them, who went mad as a result of the terror she had suffered. I hid myself in a barrel and covered myself with a lot of withered carrots. My sister climbed under a table and pretended to be dead; that is how we could escape from this beast. The English set us free: we heard that they caught the Oberscharführer on the following day; they stripped him naked and cut pieces from his living flesh. Soon after the liberation, on 15th April we got to Bergen and we lived there for three weeks, then we went to Celle. There I, the above named Lilly Mendelsohn got to work at a kitchen again, I became a chef, but of course I offered my work of my own free will, nobody forced me. We set off with a Czech transport; it happened on the train towards Prague that a friend of mine recognized the Oberscharführer from Pürsko disguised as a Polish prisoner dressed in striped clothes sitting next to her. Of course he did not want to recognize us, but I brought three Czech soldiers with bayonets immediately and their captain called the Oberscharführer to account for his deeds. First he denied that he was a member of the SS, he claimed he was a deported prisoner, but the captain demanded him to show his tattooed number. He indeed had it, but in spite of that the captain arrested him. From Prague we came to Budapest through Pozsony.